Penrith and Blacktown council chatter

■Over 155 runners have already registered to compete in the 9th annual Westlink M7 Blacktown City Running Festival on July 27.

The Westlink M7 Blacktown City Running Festival (previously known as Westlink M7 Cities Marathon) consists of four events.

They include 42.195 kilometre Westlink M7 Cities Marathon, the 21.1km half marathon and Blacktown City 10km and 4km fun run and walk events

The marathon starts at Prestons while the other events start and finish at Blacktown International Sportspark .

Costs range from $22 to enter the fun run to $85 for the full marathon.

Details: 9839 6000 or go to wm7citiesmarathon.com.au.

■Penrith mayor Ross Fowler has welcomed tough graffiti laws recently announced by the state government.

The council spends $600,000 on graffiti removal each year.

The Graffiti Control Amendment Act will make it easier for police to combat emerging threats such as acid etching and other graffiti that can't be easily removed by wiping or using water or detergent.

The offence carries a 12 month jail sentence and fine of $2200.

Courts can include a community clean up order as part of a graffiti offender's sentence even if hasn't been specifically sought by the prosecutor or offender.

The laws target criminal behaviour and does not prevent chalking hopscotch squares and rainbows onto footpaths.

■Blacktown Arts Centre will host the Grass Roots World Music Festival this Saturday (June 21), 2-9pm.

Now in its thrd year, the event is a unique opportunity to celebrate the many cultures and amazing talents of western Sydney.

Blacktown Arts Centre will host two stages of ancient ceremonies, village songs, sacred

music and unique music fusions.

Witness the ancient women's rituals from Liberia and Sierra Leone; Afghani Folk music; songs from Kurdistan and the sacred Qawwali music from the sub-continent.

Grass Roots is a living, breathing, cultural experience," artistic director Richard Petkovic said.

Entry is free.

■If you're aged between 14 and 17 and live or study in the Penrith LGA, you can participate in a bike building workshop at the PCYC next Tuesday (June 24).

Practice riding on a professional bike course and learn how to build and maintain a bike.

You get to take your bike home.

Meet professional riding instructors, the police bike squad and youth workers.

The aim of the event is to teenagers young people to get active.

Interested participants first register online at happinesscycle.com.au

Successful applicants will then be contacted.

Details: Katerina, 47327832.

■The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has given Blacktown Council's proposed special variation increase the green light.

It is three per cent above the rate pegging to fund the infrastructure renewal backlog.

It means residential rates will increase by 5.3% in the 2014/15 financial year, which equates to an extra 88 cents a week.

Business - Sub-category will increase by 12.3% in 2014/15 and a further 13% in 2015/16.

Business - General category will increase by 5.3% in 2014/15.

Adoption of the rates for 2014/2015 will be considered by councillors at next week's council meetings, when it will also consider the draft delivery program and 2014/2015 budget.

■Penrith Progression will sponsor a NSW Business Chamber breakfast with NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance this Friday (June 20) at Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith Panthers.

Project Director Craig Butler said it was important for Penrith Progression to reach a broad audience in government and business.

"This is an opportunity to put Penrith at the top of the agenda for our state government and our business community," Mr Butler said.

The mayor and Penrith Business Alliance recently highlighted development opportunities in Penrith during a trip to Korea and China, and the state government has committed to moving the Department of Sport and Recreation to Penrith.

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